SEC INSIDER

No. 6 Georgia set sights on Missouri, SEC East title

Field Level Media

November 06, 2019 at 6:28 am.

Thanks to last week’s win over Florida, Georgia has set itself up nicely for a third straight SEC East title. But with three conference games to go, there’s still plenty of work to do.

The Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1) — ranked No. 6 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings — currently hold a half-game lead over the rival Gators, along with the team set to visit Athens on Saturday: Missouri.

Like Georgia, the Tigers (5-3, 2-2) also control their own destiny as far as the SEC East is concerned. Following their trip to Athens, Missouri hosts Florida the following weekend, and should it continue to win, would represent the division in the SEC Championship a month from now in Atlanta.

Of course, the same is obviously true for the Bulldogs, who still have conference games remaining with Auburn and Texas A&M.

“We don’t look past the gauntlet of Missouri because our team respects them. It’s a single-minded focus on one thing. We can’t look past that. As far as buy in, they never didn’t buy-in,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “They have bought in the whole entire time. There’s been a sense of urgency for our guys for a long time.

“Just execute and got to get better and most important thing is they understand they have to get better to get where we want to go.”

Tigers coach Barry Odom feels the same about his squad.

After starting the season 5-1, a start that saw Mizzou average 38 points per game, the Tigers saw that number drop to 10.5 over their last two, which not surprisingly resulted in back-to-back road losses to Vanderbilt (21-14) and Kentucky (29-7).

Making matters worse for Odom, as of Tuesday, the status of quarterback Kelly Bryant was up in the air after the Clemson transfer suffered a recent hamstring injury.

“I would say, sitting on Tuesday I thought he did some things today much better than last week,” Odom said. “We will take it day-to-day. I think he is a fast healer. I know he was anxious during practice today to do a lot more, so, we kind of edged it on and had him do more than maybe I anticipated in.”

For Georgia, what a difference a week makes.

This time last week, questions about quarterback Jake Fromm and the efficiency of the Bulldogs’ offense were major concerns for Georgia fans. After completing 20 of 30 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns against the Gators, that’s no longer the case.

So, too, is the notion that the Georgia program was on some sort of downward slide. After beating Florida, the Bulldogs not only control their own destiny in regards to the East, but also they are back in the conversation for a spot in the College Football Playoffs — provided they keep winning.

Keeping his team on an even emotional plane is proving to be one of Smart’s bigger challenges.

“I don’t really try to pay attention to it. I try to emphasize to the kids that inconsistency is consistent,” he said. “So, the highs and lows are going to be consistent. As far as everybody is going to say one way or the other, it’s always higher or lower than it really is. As coaches, we always say that’s it’s never as good as it is, and it’s never as bad as it seems.”